The research in the Roesler group targets novel transformations mediated by earth-abundant transition metals. Usually the work involves the design of new ligands, common motifs being diaminocarbenes, imines, amines and phosphines in chelating, pincer and tripodal architectures. Areas of applications include:
1. Small molecule activation
The activation of small molecules such as hydrogen, ammonia and hydrocarbons at transition metal centers is often the first step towards the synthesis of more complex compounds. Primarily targeted are catalytic oxidation, hydrogenation and amination reactions of hydrocarbon substrates, as well as carbon-carbon bond cleavage and formation.
2. Low carbon fuels
A key to reducing the global carbon dioxide output is energy storage for transportation. Low carbon fuels are alternatives to the more established battery storage and provide certain advantages such as higher energy density and peak power. Investigated are reversible, catalytic hydrogenation reactions that can provide the bases for such fuels.
3. Redox flow batteries
The increasing use of the renewable yet notoriously unreliable wind and solar power demands the development of grid storage facilities, such as those based on redox flow batteries. Under investigation in the Roesler group are water-based redox flow batteries that use transition metal complexes supported by organic ligands for energy storage.
The group has a keen interest in the investigations of molecules and transformations that promise to bring substantial contributions to the fundamental knowledge of the discipline, even if these might not be immediately related to potential applications. Some of these investigations target new ligands containing main group element other than carbon, and their transition metal complexes.